CWU vote “No” to Royal Mail privatisation

CWUThe CWU have announce the result of their consultative ballot with unsurprising results. CWU workers voted almost unanimously:

Q1: Do you oppose the privatisation of Royal Mail?

YES 96%

Q2: Do you support the boycott of competitors’ mail?

Royal Mail featYES 92%

Q3: Do you support the CWU Pay claim?

YES 99%

Q4: Do you support the policy of non-cooperation?

YES 92%

Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “No-one has yet asked postal workers what they think about privatisation. Today postal workers have spoken loud and clear with a massive 96% roundly rejecting the government’s plans to privatise Royal Mail. The workforce does not support the government or Royal Mail on selling the company. This company is flourishing in public ownership as the recent doubling of profits proves. It’s becoming less clear what this policy is about. Why privatise this profitable company?

Royal Mail responded saying “Any sale is a matter for the UK Government“. They added “Whether Royal Mail is publicly or privately owned, the six-day-a-week, one-price-goes-anywhere Universal Service is enshrined in law. It can only be changed by both Houses of Parliament. Ofcom, the independent regulator, has a primary duty to protect the Universal Service. It has ruled out any changes to the scope of the Universal Service”.

“A change of ownership does not affect terms and conditions of our employees. All terms and conditions and collective agreements that apply to employees would remain in place were there to be a change in ownership of the company. While no one can rule out changes in the future, this has always been the case.

Ballot is not a vote to strike

It’s worth noting that the CWU’s consultative ballot is not a ballot for industrial action and that Royal Mail believes that any direction by the Communication Workers Union that postmen and women should refuse to handle Access letters and parcels would be unlawful.

You can read CWU’s statement in full on the CWU website and Royal Mail have published a full response setting out their position.

Should Royal Mail be privatised?

Here at Tamebay HQ we’re not desperately in favour of a privatised Royal Mail. Any privatised company still be bound by the Universal Service obligation which would doubtless result in uneven competition with their competitors but the postal service is something every single person in the country benefits from, and especially so for ecommerce retailers. If necessary we’d rather see a tax payer subsidised Royal Mail providing great service and the CWU agrees but point out that the Royal Mail is “not a burden on the state and doesn’t take any grants“.

The CWU explain that privatisation isn’t the only option citing Network Rail as public body which has borrowed billions on private capital markets without it adding to the public debt or causing the government to “choose between funding hospital and schools” or the business, as it has claimed in respect to Royal Mail.